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United Nations Day

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M145 24 October 1980


Today, 24 October, marks the thirty-fifth anniversary of the entry into force in San Francisco of the Charter of the United Nations.

The Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr Andrew Peacock, today re-affirmed the Government's commitment to the United Nations and its belief in the value of the world body. Although weaknesses and problems existed, the international community remained firmly committed to the further strengthening of UN activities.

Mr Peacock said that he had led the Australian delegation to the current session of the United Nations General Assembly and had addressed the Assembly on 24 September. In his statement he had covered a wide range of issues which are currently under consideration in the UN,

including nuclear arms control and disarmament, North/South relations, refugees, human rights, decolonisation, Kampuchea, Afghanistan, southern Africa and the Middle East. He had also been able in his statement to welcome two fellow members of the Commonwealth, Zimbabwe and St. Vincent

and the Grenadines, as new members of the United Nations.

Mr Peacock commented that today's anniversary should serve to remind people that with the deterioration of the international situation, the UN had assumed even greater importance in safeguarding the peace and well-being of people everywhere. The UN provided the means for ensuring that the world's problems were tackled through discussion and negotiation and in a spirit of goodwill and co-operation.

"This will not happen automatically. The role the UN will play depends on the will and capacity which all of the members of the United Nations bring to bear to make the organisation relevant and effective", Mr Peacock said.

The Minister added that as well as serving as a forum for multilateral negotiation and discussion, the activities of the United Nations - particularly in the humanitarian and technical fields - had an impact on the daily lives of people throughout the world. It was

important to strengthen the United Nations' ability to provide the framework and procedures, so necessary in an increasingly interdependent world, to enable the nations of the world more readily to harmonise their interests.

The Minister noted that during 1980 the United Nations had held special sessions - on economic development and Palestine - and the World Conference of the UN Decade for Women. These had each served to bring together the nations of the world to focus on a range of issues


of vital importance to people everywhere. As well there had been a full calendar of conferences and the on-going activities of the specialised agencies.

Mr Peacock expressed satisfaction at the progress made during the year by the Third UN Conference on the Law of the Sea. He also recalled that during the past year there had been considerable interĀ­ national efforts - in which Australia had been pleased to play an .

active part - to alleviate the suffering of the Kampuchean people.